From the TV Times, April 1 - 7, 1989

"Another Fine Sketch You've Got Me Into, Benny!"

Benny Hill and Sue Upton have been best friends for more than a decade - on and off the screen. This Wednesday, they launch their funniest double-act yet - a brilliant interpretation of Laurel and Hardy. ANDREA KON reports. Pictures BERT HILL

It's a send-up, of course, as Benny becomes Ollie and Sue becomes Stan. But, behind all the make-up, they have something else in common with the vintage comedians - their long-lasting friendship.

To her joy, the petite and pretty blonde, who adores playing the character parts on the show, has become one of Benny's few close friends and confidants during her 13 years in the show. Benny, she reports, is caring and compassionate, not only towards her, but her husband and children, too.

"I first met Benny when I went for an audition," says Sue. "He got to know that I shared his interest in the history of comedy. He asked me out to lunch a couple of times to discuss our favourites, particularly Laurel and Hardy, and Charlie Chaplin. After that, he invited me home to see the classics from his video collection of old comedies."

Sue says it didn't take her long to discover that Benny is a kind and very charming man. "He's extremely generous, too, and one of the most intelligent people I've ever met."

But, like all true friendships, theirs took time to grow. "When I got married 12 years ago, I didn't invite him to my wedding because we were not as friendly then as we were now," she explains. Besides, at the time she wanted to keep her marriage a secret. "I thought it might jeopardize my career and I wanted to keep the two things separate."

Luckily for Sue, when they finally did meet, her husband and her best friend hit it off right from the start. "Roger and Benny got on like a house on fire," says Sue. "Roger, who is in his 30s, respects Benny, who is in his 60s, as a father figure. And Benny is very fond of Roger, as he might be of a son or nephew. Benny often comes to stay in our home and he is the ideal house guest. He's lovely to cook for because he eats anything."

Sue's children - Richard, five, and Louise, three, are included in the friendship, too.

"Benny particularly loves being with the children," says Sue. "Perhaps that's because he hasn't any of his own.

"He's always ready to go and kick a football around the garden with them, and enjoys nothing more than joining a family outing. When he heard that I was going to buy a pet rabbit, he insisted on coming along to help choose. And, when Rosie Rabbit gave birth to seven baby bunnies recently, I had to ring and give him the good news. At birthdays and Christmas, he always gets the children pressies."

And it seems as though Sue has started a family tradition. Both Richard and Louise have already made two appearances on the show. "Richard," she says, "is Benny's main "littlely" character. He's the one in the blue baseball hat. He loves working with his 'Uncle Benny'."

The Laurel and Hardy sketch was one that Benny had been talking about for more than a year. "He knows how I love playing characters," says Sue. "It's only a short sketch this time, but Benny was so pleased with it that I think he's considering doing some more. I do hope so."